Chatting recently with Sam Douglas he mentioned he owned a Max Carter 18’ runabout that he was restoring, obviously I asked for details – below is Sam’s reply.
“Launched in 1959, Gerry Gowan commissioned Max Carter to design and build this 18 foot outboard runabout to his specification. As far as I can tell she is kauri framework, solid mahogany trim and mahogany ply. Sometime in the 1960’s she was fiber-glassed to the chine. She has had about 5 outboard changes in her life, starting with a 40hp Johnson and ending with her current 1970’s Mercury 800. It is believed she was the first one of her kind and possibly an extended version of some earlier, smaller Max Carter runabouts. There is believed to be one other boat later built to the same design but Mandingo is the original. She remained unnamed until sometime in the 1970’s when the OBC, where she was a member, required all boats to be named. At the time one of the family was reading the controversial novel ‘Mandingo’ and so somehow the name stuck. Used extensively for cruising and fishing the Hauraki gulf, often to Tiritiri and Rakino she later took up residence at the family bach at Rotoiti where she stayed until the late 1980’s when she was sold to a family friend in Turangi where she resided until early 2018 when I purchased her and brought her back to Auckland.
She had been sitting unused in a shed for 15 years. Unfortunately at some point said shed sprung a leak, dripped down onto the deck and fresh water had left a tide line in her bilge. I bought her as a project site unseen and made the journey down to Turangi early one morning to collect her, not entirely sure whether she’d happily be coming back up with me. The trailer also hadn’t been moved in anger all this time but I was informed it had been driven a few hundred meters recently in order to have one tyre replaced (the other is still the original radial). Aside from the obvious downsides of fresh water and wood, what I did find on arrival was that the fresh water of the lakes where she’d resided for the latter part of her life had been very kind to the custom built trailer and the main outboard as well as the original 1950’s Seagull auxiliary looked in great condition and still turned over freely. The light board too plugged up and worked perfectly. So, with nothing to lose I nervously begun the journey home and with frequent stops to check such things as heat in the bearings and a lot of time spent looking in the mirrors to see if a wheel had yet fallen off, made it back to Auckland incredibly incident free that afternoon.(photo below)
She now resides less than a km from where she was originally built, in a shed in my backyard where I am trying to breath some new life into her (and learning a lot on the way!). I have now finished the hull and am working on the decks and interior. One of these days (a longer time after I had initially thought) I hope to re float her, use her extensively in the harbour again and reunite her with her 2 previous family custodians.”
‘Old’ photos below of Mandingo ex the Gowan family, the 2 black and white water skiing ones are presumed early 1960’s when she had a 40hp Johnson and the colour one 1983, sporting her still current Mercury 800. Sam believes all are from Lake Rotoiti (North Island).
Todays woody story comes to us from Andrew Christie in Brisbane, Andrew filmed and edited the short film on the glorious launch – South Passage, built in 1952 in Brisbane by Percy Tripcony.
South Passage is 50’ in length with a beam of 13’4”, and she draws 4’6”. The sound and footage of her Gardner 6LX diesel will be music to Dick Fisher’s (Akarana) ear and hopefully inspiration to Jamie Hudson (Lady Crossley) to get the tooth brush and Brasso out 😉
Click the link below to read / view this great tales from ABC News – Australia, about 6 mates that took on the restoration of – Southwinds (previously named Valhalla), a 70 year old, 18m, Hueon pine built classic ketch.
Thanks to Andrew Christie for the heads up on the story.
The above photo is dated 1956 and the venue is Seatoun Wharf in Wellinton. Not sure how the launch got onto this situation but hopefully she survived. Anyone with a non-self draining cockpit can relate to this. One of your worst nightmares.
I’m still getting late orders for WW gear for xmas, trying hard to fill the orders and post so they get out for xmas. Even doing a few deliveries to WW loyalists 😉
Mahurangi Cruising Club Year Book – the best ever, its packed with photos of both launches and yachts – seems my constant nagging has finally paid off 🙂
Grab a copy at Boat Books, either at their Westhaven store or on-line.
I have just finished a big few days -Wed>Friday helped Jamie Hudson take Lady Crossley to her summer home in the Bay of Islands and then on Saturday attended a day of celebrations to mark the re-launch of the magnificent Supreme Craft launch – Lady Ellen. Thanks to owner Bruce Mitchinson sending in regular update reports, the restoration of this woody would have to be the best documented project on the waitematawoodys website – refer links below.
The day started with Lady Ellen being transported to the Opua launching ramp, with grey skies and a forecast of rain, no time was wasted getting her back into the water. Hopefully it’s a good omen that the rain held off until Lady Ellen slipped her lines for the trip to her berth just off the Russell Boating Club. Owners Bruce and Annabel were joined by friends and family for lunch and good chat. On a personal note it was great to meet a lot of WW followers and put a face to the names.
Bruce’s list of people to thank was very long – some very talented folk have rubbed up against Lady Ellen during the last 4 years. The master craftsman / boatbuilder Brett Avery was singled out for special recognition – in return he thanked Bruce and Annabel for their vision, faith and tenacity thru-out the restoration.
A special thanks to Hylton Edmonds who assisted with the launching and provided the ‘underway’ photos and impressive video footage of Lady Ellen motoring to Russell.
Lastingly – I have not been to Russell in way too long – what a cool destination, the retailers lightened my wallet + dinner at The Duke of Marlborough on Saturday night was a 9/10 – great venue, great sunset and nice people (Margo & Jamie Hudson + myself & Robyn)
The venue for the post launch celebration was the world famous, well at least in NZ 🙂 , Russell Boating Club. The club also hosts the truely world famous – Tall Ships Race in January each year.
Now they are a wee problem – its sinking – not sure if its burying its self into the mud or its rising sea levels – either way as you will see in the photo below urgent action is needed.
The club is funding raising to re-pile and need $40,000 – so they have set up a donation page – link below. Good news is they are 1/2 way there. So if you are feeling generous this xmas, donate a few dollars to help out 🙂
I first saw todays Woody at the Lake Rotoiti (Nelson Lakes) Classic Boat Show and now thanks to tme & Ian McDonald, we get to see her ‘in the flesh’.
The woody is one of only 320 16’ Century Resorter runabouts built in the Michigan factory.
She is still powered by her original (rebuilt) Ford Interceptor 272 / 150hp V8 engine.
The custom built trailer is a work of art and compliments the boat perfectly.
Mahurangi Cruising Club 2020 Yearbook OUT NOW
Just in time for Christmas – the Mahurangi Cruising Club 2020 Yearbook is now on sale. For most of us the best option to grab a copy is via Boat Boats in Westhaven (on-line as well) or order via the MCC facebook page.
Design guru Steve Horsley is back on board and the book looks amazing. At $20 its the perfect Santa sack filler.
The MCC are the powerhouse behind NZ’s biggest on-the-water wooden boating event -the Mahurangi Regatta , so pull the wallet out and buy a copy, as well as a great read you will be helping the MCC run the regatta.